Trove is The National Libray of Australia’s digital collection resource, and we are very happy to say that the Cartonography collection is now available on it!
The Dicky Bill carton is one that I have had since I started collecting fruit cartons. It is an atypical carton, with a simple, cute echidna giving the thumbs up. I had always thought that Dicky Bill was the echidna’s name, however it is the abbreviated nickname of the late Richard William Barnard, a 3rd generation lettuce farmer whose farming legacy lives on through his son, Ryan McLeod and business partner Hugh Reardon. Dicky Bill now specialises in salad (mesclun, spinach and wild rocket).
Recently I had the opportunity to visit the art department at Orora Fibre Packaging (previously Amcor) in Brisbane, which is responsible for some of the most recognisable fruit carton designs in the industry. I was the guest of Camille Giacca who had seen an article in Smith Journal about Cartonography some months before and recognised some very familiar cartons and it wasn’t long before we were communicating. Interestingly enough I had been in touch with the art department at Orora about 18 months prior to ask them questions about fruit cartons. Perhaps it was my odd inquisitive enthusiasm, or perhaps it was because nobody else had asked, but Camille admitted that at the time they had wondered whether I was pulling their legs…
This entry begins with a quote from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a story that resonates with the graphic themes of fruit cartons, as well as the themes of Cartonography more broadly, which I will elucidate:
In the Cartonography collection I consider each carton to be a conveyor of not only produce but potentially some other meaning, truth or idea. This may be a little wishful. It is only packaging after all; mass produced, delivered, used (once in most cases), transported again, and again, and then recycled to make other cartons. The life-cycle and journeys of a fruit carton is a fascinating thing and will one day be the centre of some of my research, but for now my concerns are focused on the designs that adorn these transient devices, and whether they can tell us something. Each carton has a design. Some are complex, some are humorous, some are garish and others are quite boring. Cartonography does not discriminate in collecting. It is a process that is interested in all fruit cartons and the possibility of each to contribute to a possible understanding of the landscape we are all part of in someway. Continue reading
It occurred to me recently that although the definition of project is very broad there is imbedded in it a kind of containment. Project suggests a life-span and set of aims to be carried out within a certain time frame. The process of Cartonography is attempting to resist this containment. Continue reading
It only really occurred to me late on the second day of the FNQ trip to get photographs of each of the farmers holding their fruit cartons, but I’m glad I got the ones I did. Thanks very much to all the folks who gave their precious time to a strange blow-in who collects lids. Thank you all for your good humour and generous hospitality, and I hope to visit you again soon (next time with a video camera).
Noel Stevenson with a stack of his SUPER BANANAS. I arrived just as the truck pulled in to collect his load. I also like the colour of Stevo’s forklift.